Youn Sun Nah – She Moves On (2017)

Youn Sun Nah - She Moves On (2017)
Artist: Youn Sun Nah
Album: She Moves On
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: South Korea
Released: 2017
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Traveller 03:43
Teach The Gifted Children 04:13
Too Late 05:04
She Moves On 04:45
No Other Name 02:45
The Dawntreader 05:30
Drifting 04:38
Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair 04:14
A Sailor’s Life 08:42
Fools Rush In 04:04
Evening Star 03:00


A long term resident of Paris, Youn Sun Nah was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1969. Steeped in the European contemporary jazz scene she has a voice of clarity and class that makes an instant connection with the listener. The holder of numerous awards and a major star in her country of birth she is often called upon to perform outside of the jazz world at high profile events including the Winter Olympics plus numerous feature films. For this her ninth album release she has surrounded herself with high quality musicians such as New Yorker Jamie Saft a multi instrumentalist, producer and sound recordist best known for his sonic excursions with John Zorn and one of the busiest guitarists on the scene, Marc Ribot late of The Lounge Lizards and Tom Waits.

The album itself, which is a mixture of modern American classics, traditional folk songs and telling originals benefits greatly from the superb recording quality we have all grown to expect from ACT and similar labels. From the first few notes of the vocalist’s own composition “Traveller” it is very easy to be totally captivated by the emotional and sometimes chilling vocal delivery and empatheticinstrumental backdrop that is maintained throughout. Songs by some of the foremost lyricist’s of the modern era are all enhanced by the performances here. Lou Reed’s “Teach The Gifted Children” has a new identity stamped upon it with voice and guitar interweaving in perfect harmony. The title track from the pen of Paul Simon carries a quiet momentum and is story telling at hit’s best with subtle support Fender Rhodessupport. One of Joni Mitchell’s lesser known works “The Downtreader”drawn from her 1968 album ‘Song To A Seagull’ is one of the many highlights with fine piano from Jamie Saft as the words really get under the listeners skin as they so often do from this composer. Thing’s move to a more alien territory with a rendering of Jimmy Hendricks “Drifting” where after a surprisingly subdued vocal, Ribot’s guitar builds to a fine mirror image of the great man’s unmistakable guitar sound. The song selection returns only once to the ‘golden era’ as such with Johnny Mercer’s “Fools Rush In”. Opening with a teasing verse before the melody takes over (as Ella may well have done) we are treated to the most delicate, considered and restrained delivery of the lyric that anyone could wish for. The set closes with another fine original “Evening Star” which once again goes to show that not only is this an outstanding vocal recording but one where the whole group complement each other in producing music of the highest quality.

In summary, intimacy, emotion, great musicianship and above all a voice of pure beauty are what’s on offer here, as I am sure it would have been during the band’s recent gig at Ronnie Scotts.
Reviewed by Jim Burlong